A train was going almost 60 mph above the speed limit just before it derailed, killing two people and injuring dozens, the acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said Sunday.
Mark Rosenker said the Metra commuter train was traveling at 69 mph and should not have been going faster than 10 mph when it switched tracks at a crossover just before jumping the tracks Saturday.
"Sixty-nine miles an hour is very, very fast when you're dealing with a 10-mile-an-hour restriction," Rosenker said.
The NTSB will also examine records of the train signals and radio transmissions from a control tower, Rosenker said, reports USA Today.
According to The New York Times investigators interviewed the train's engineer on Sunday. He is 41 and had been on the job for 45 days after completing a six-month training program, which included at least some training along the route where the derailment occurred. He also had worked for more than five years as an engineer for the CSX Corporation.
Investigators have determined that nothing was abnormal with the tracks, Mr. Rosenker said. The train and track were inspected Friday, said Judy Pardonnet, a spokeswoman for Metra, the commuter rail system that serves the Chicago area.
Transportation officials determined Sunday that train signals were working, meaning the engineer should have known he was approaching a crossover and should have had time to slow the train upon seeing the signals, even if he was traveling 69 m.p.h., Mr. Rosenker said.
Photo: the AP